Sony NWZ-ZX1 Walkman loves high-res music, is a bit of a handful (hands-on)

Sony has made a big play with sound on a number of its latest devices launched at IFA 2014 including the Xperia Z3 flagship smartphone, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet, but it didn't stop with just smartphones and tablets.

The company also announced a couple of new Walkmans during its press conference at IFA 2014, both of which feature the same high-res technology and we got our hands on the bigger NWZ-ZX1 Walkman to see what we made of it.

On first glance of the NWZ-ZX1 Walkman, you could almost be forgiven for mistaking it for a smartphone as it offers a very premium, solid metal build and it is a similar size but with a little extra bulk.

The design is nice but it isn't small so if you are looking for a portable music player that will slide in your pocket for you to then forget it's there, this probably isn't the route you would take. From the front it looks great though and its metal frame and multiple buttons make it feel like you have a proper gadget in your hand.

The rear is a little strange as it protrudes out towards the bottom and although it looks odd, it actually makes the device really comfortable to hold. The comfort is further supported by the textured rubber finish on the rear, which provides a decent amount of grip to assure you that it won't be slipping out of your hands anytime soon.

The NWZ-ZX1 Walkman doesn't feature a control pad like the other smaller Walkman launched by Sony at IFA, and instead opts for a touchscreen with this model making it feel even more like a phone. You can download apps and like the smaller device, everything works very fluidly and we were impressed, plus there is NFC and Bluetooth on board too.

If you aren't a touchscreen fan, Sony has covered this too with multiple buttons running up the side of the device. There is a power button, volume buttons, skip buttons and a pause/play button, all of which offer a solid, premium finish that matches the style of the rest of the device.

There is an auxiliary input, headphone jack and charging port on the bottom of the device and Sony's Walkman logo sits subtly in the corner of the device and again on the rear. There is also 128GB of internal storage that Sony claims will be enough space for around 800 high-res songs.

When it comes to sound, the NWZ-ZX1 Walkman does well here too. We used a demo kit that allowed you to test the difference between high-res and MP3 and it was quite substantial. Like the smaller model, the Sony NWZ-ZX1 Walkman features an S-Master HX digital amplifier for high-res, as well as the DSEE HX technology for converting low-res audio files into near high-res.

We had a quick listen to a Michael Jackson song and we could hear all the points we were told to focus on to hear the difference. There were clearer strings, clearer finger snaps, clearer bass drum, clearer vocals and a richer sound field. All in all, everything was clearer, as it said it would be.

Of course, we will test it properly when we get it in for review but so far, we really like what we see and hear with this device. It looks great and sounds great from what we could tell during our short time with it and we are looking forward to spending some more time in its company.



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